Catholic Near East Welfare Association has received urgent requests for aid from partners in flood-ravaged Kerala in southern India.
The Syro-Malabar Catholic Eparchy (diocese) of Palghat reports that torrential rains have triggered landslides in the hilly areas of the Palakkad District, burying houses, people, livestock and patches of agricultural lands in mud several feet deep. CNEWA’s regional director in Kerala, M.L. Thomas, adds that flash floods have ravaged the lower regions of the district, destroying houses and fields located along its rivers and streams.
“Raging floodwaters have caused massive mudslides in the hilly areas,” he writes. “Farm lands have been wiped out and houses have disappeared. It is heartbreaking to watch.”
Bishop Jacob Manathodath of Palghat and the bishops in the neighboring eparchies of Mananthavady and Thamarassery have asked CNEWA for monies to help clean and restore homes for the poorest families affected by the flooding and landslides, as well as funds to help subsistence farmers clear their devastated plots — most of which are smaller than 2 acres — and reclaim them for vegetable cultivation and the keeping of livestock, such as pigs and goats and chickens.
CNEWA is asking our generous donors to help our suffering brothers and sisters in southern India in their hour of need.
“Their livelihoods have been shattered,” Mr. Thomas writes, “and measures need to be taken to restore their lives as soon as possible.”
In the United States, urgent donations can be made online at www.cnewa.org; by phone at 800 442 6392; or by mail, CNEWA, 1011 First Avenue, New York, NY 10022 4195.
In Canada, visit www.cnewa.ca; write a cheque to CNEWA Canada and send to 1247 Kilborn Place, Ottawa, Ontario K1H 6K9; or call toll-free at 1 866 322 4441.
Since the torrential rains began on 8 August, more than a quarter of a million people have been displaced and housed in temporary shelters, including in parish community centers. As priests and sisters visit the hardest hit families, parishes are mobilizing relief supplies for those who remain displaced and living in camps. The death toll continues to climb — at least 200 by several accounts — as bodies are recovered from homes buried in mud.
“While we are not an emergency relief organization,” says CNEWA’s president, Msgr. John Kozar, “I urge our friends and benefactors to do what they can to help us as we accompany the churches of Kerala respond to these real human tragedies.
“Helping the poorest of the poor — right now through the eparchies of Palghat, Mananthavady and Thamarassery — is a beautiful expression of how we stand in solidarity with the Eastern Catholic churches.”
An agency of the Holy See, CNEWA works throughout the subcontinent of India, the Middle East, Northeast Africa and Eastern Europe. On behalf of the pope, CNEWA works for, through and with the Eastern churches, rushing aid to displaced families; providing maternity and health care for the poorest of the poor; assisting initiatives for the marginalized, especially the children, elderly and disabled; and offering formation and supporting the education of seminarians, religious novices and lay leaders.
CNEWA is a registered charity in the United States by the State of New York and in Canada. All contributions are tax deductible and tax receipts are issued.